The Furbelows on bring some old-time swing to the Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival

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The Furbelows on bring some old-time swing to the Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival


Jazz singer Georgie Darvidis reflects on a busy year of opportunities embraced in Australia and internationally, while anticipating those still to come as the Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival approaches in November.


“I’m excited to trust the event and go and discover some new ensembles. Apart from the jazz and art music scenes, I don’t know a lot of bands. Even local bands. I probably don’t know who they are, even if they’re ridiculously accomplished, because I never get out of the house.”

Darvidis and her group, The Furbelows, are just one element of the excellently curated Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival, debuting in Collingwood next month. Established with the aim of bringing classical and modern music together, Festival Director and founder of La Prima Opera, Alison Rae Jones has done a remarkable job in making the inaugural event one to impress.

“This is so fresh for her. It’s really exciting and it’s the sort of thing you want to support because it’s about people going, ‘You know what? I know a bunch of people who do really cool stuff and they should all meet each other.’ It’s not some corporate booked thing where no one talks to each other.”

The Furbelows will bring some old time swing to the Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival, with shimmering three-part harmonies to boot. Their year has already included some local festival appearances, slotting into what has proven to be a chaotic year of projects for Darvidis.

“I’ve worked more this year than I ever have. I feel like this year, I’ve said yes to a lot of things. Probably too many things, because it got a bit ridiculous towards the end of the year.” she admits.

“I went to China this year with a show that I’d never done before. I didn’t get to rehearse with [the company]; I’d never seen the show, there was no score. It was a huge gamble. I thought, ‘I’m not not going to do this, it’s just going to be a bit stressful.’ That becomes something that you can do. Not so much adding to a skillset, but knowing you can absolutely throw yourself in the deep end and know it will always be okay. Everyone wants it to be okay, you’re not the only one who wants it to go well.”

Darvidis’ trip to China reaffirmed perceptions formed over her years of live performance in Melbourne and the forging of her career within the jazz and wider arts scene.  

“It affirmed something that I’d thought before, which was that sometimes you need to be in a piece to actually understand it. Sometimes you see something and you go, ‘I’m just not close enough to it,’ and then once you’re in it and you’re sitting on stage, watching the other performers while you’re not performing, you’re like, ‘Oh, I see.’

“This piece was very collaborative in its inception and everyone contributed to the making of it and I didn’t, because I wasn’t in the original show. Being in something is a position that I’m lucky to get over and over again because that’s actually how you can really see a piece of music or performance grow.”

Diving back into work upon her return to Australia, Darvidis has been performing across a range of projects, balancing the writing of her own music with continuing to finesse her work with The Furbelows and the other ensembles she has been performing with.

“Next year, I have to be really careful,” she says. “I really like doing all these different projects; it’s really fun to investigate all these different styles and projects, but I still don’t have a record yet. I have enough music for a record, but I just haven’t recorded it yet because I’m too busy and completely terrified. Next year I have to do it.”

Optimistic about the final months of 2017 and the opening ones of 2018, Darvidis anticipates the discovery of new music in her own backyard – such as the Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival – enthusiastically.

“If you trust the curation of the event, even if it has one hook in your lip; if you’re thinking, ‘I really like that band. I’ve never heard of any of these other bands, but I trust the event,’ you can show up and know you’ll be surprised.”